Schuitmaker legislation would save court users time, money

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker that would establish a statewide electronic filing system for Michigan courts advanced out of the Senate Thursday.

Senate Bills 531-533 would create a hassle-free e-filing system, enabling someone filing court documents to file online using a single username and password. The system would save court users money that would otherwise be spent on copying costs, postage and couriers.

“Court proceedings are often slow and difficult,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Creating a uniform and efficient e-filing system will make the whole process easier for Michigan residents.”

In a 2014 report, the National Center for State Courts recommended this upgrade to improve service and increase efficiency. The state of Michigan has 244 trial courts supported by 165 funding sources. Currently, each jurisdiction has the ability to set their own standards and requirements for filing documents.

“Our current patchwork filing system ultimately places the burden on our court users. Instead of rushing to the court trying to meet a deadline, this legislation will allow users to file anytime and anywhere, ultimately saving them time and money,” Schuitmaker said.

The new system would provide a basic framework for courts to establish e-filing services that fit their specific needs and capabilities. Each court would have the ability to customize how the service is delivered to their users.

“This legislation will use available technology to streamline the process for filing court documents and allow our court system to operate much more efficiently in the future,” Schuitmaker said.

SBs 531-533 will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.